THEMIS 2015 Grand Final

Themis Competition - a success story

The final of the 2015 THEMIS Competition took place this year at the National Institute of Magistracy (NIM) in Bucharest, Romania, from 26 to 28 October 2015. In the previous yera, the Romania team had performed brilliantly and won the Competition.

The three days of the Competition were rich in events since EJTN was also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the THEMIS Competition.  

At the Competitin, all were welcomed by Ms. Octavia Spineanu-Matei, Director of the National Institute of Magistracy, who wished all participants good luck. Then Mr. Wojciech Postulski, Secretary General of EJTN, invited the 8 teams selected during the semi-finals (2 per each semi-final) to introduce themselves, one after another. 

The teams of the 2015 THEMIS Grand Final Competition:

France 2 - Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature

  • Farida Boukrouna
  • Simon Chardenoux
  • Claire Paillassou
  • Accompanying Teacher: Ms. Sophie Vignaud

France 3 - Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature

  • Alexia Cussac
  • Morgane Estival
  • Pauline Pottier
  • Accompanying Teacher: Ms. Audrey Boitaud

France 4 - Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature

  • Louise Chrétien
  • Arthur De Peretti-Schlomoff
  • Yoann Viguier
  • Accompanying Teacher: Ms. Emmanuelle Leboucher-Caberguenne

Italy 1 - Scuola Superiore della Magistratura

  • Fabrizio Alessandria
  • Mario Bendoni
  • Accompanying Teacher: Ms. Gabriella Cappello

Italy 3 - Scuola Superiore della Magistratura

  • Francesco Lo Gerfo
  • Giulia Bisello
  • Camilla Cognetti
  • Accompanying Teacher: Mr. Luca Perilli

Poland 2 - National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution

  • Jakub Petkiewicz
  • Sylwia Rajczyk-Zys
  • Klaudia Piątkiewicz
  • Accompanying Teacher: Mr. Artur Ozimek

Romania 1  - National Institute of Magistracy

  • Alina Gaje
  • Irina Ionescu
  • Nicolae-Alexandru Moiceanu
  • Accompanying Teacher: Mr. Ştefan Tudorel

Romania 2 - National Institute of Magistracy

  • Tudor Cristian Ciobanu
  • Anca Crihană
  • Anca-Raluca Sas
  • Accompanying Teacher: Ms. Roxana Rizoiu

The judging panel
The judging panel, assessing the teams during the Competition, was made up of five leading experts:

  • Prof. Françoise Tulkens, Judge. Former Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights, Belgium. She shared hew views of the Competition:

"To be part of the judiciary is a privilege and a responsibility which implies conscience and personal involvement. I would like to congratulate all of you warmly for having made this choice. After these three days, I realize that EJTN’s Themis Competition is a unique opportunity to create a network between you, which is indispensable in your future professional life. North/South, East/West, you are coming from different parts of Europe, you have different traditions, cultures, religions, legal systems, but you have a common language: human rights. This Themis Competition was formidable and I really appreciate to have had the honour to sit in the jury. Thanks a lot to all those who have made this experience memorable.

I was profoundly impressed by your excellent knowledge of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights’ case law. Congratulations! Later, as judges or prosecutors, I am convinced that you will at all times be attentive to the respect of human rights. In this respect, I shall always be happy to assist you. I wish you the best of luck and every success!"

  • Dr. Hein Bölling, Judge. Former Presiding judge of Civil Chamber of the Hanseatisches Oberlandesgeright in Bremen, Germany. Lecturer for judges in the field of professional and methodical education concerning the legal work of judges.
  • Dr. Peter Tamas Horvath, Judge. Expert in Criminal Law and Human Rights Law, Hungary. HELP trainer. He was working for the ECtHR as a case-lawyer after his study visit in the EJTN Working Group Exchanges.
  • Dr. Jorge Costa,Public Prosecutor. Deputy General-Inspector in the General Inspectorate of Services of Justice, Portugal. Former lecturer in Judicial Training of Prosecutors Center (Judicial cooperation in criminal matters). President of the Working Group on Criminal Matters in the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of EU (July-December 2007).
  • Mr. Dovydas Vitkauskas, Lawyer. Former Permanent Case-Lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights.  Regular Council of Europe (CoE) and Venice Commission expert. Team leader in a number of EU-financed projects connected with the justice sector reforms, Lithuania. 

The jurors

It was in a studious and concentrated atmosphere in which the participants then withdrew to team rooms in order to prepare a written, ten-page report on a practical legal matter on the theme of “Right to a fair trial (Art 47 Eu Charter of Fundamental Rights and Art 6 ECHR)." This task was based on the following outline:

The participants then submitted their prepared written reports to EJTN:

The two other days were dedicated to the presentations and debates between the teams. Each team had a very specific role to play and had to assume a certain stance on an issue during a face-to-face event. Below, the details of the various debates:

Ms. Ana Maria Garofil

Ms. Ana Maria Garofil, Deputy Director of NIM, played the role of facilitator during these two days.

Next, the members of the judging panel withdrew in order to deliberate and to designate the winning team. Having to make a choice was particularly difficult, given the high level of knowledge of the participants and the excellent oral presentations.  

The President of the judging panel, Mr. Peter Horvath shared his views of the work faced by the jury:

"It was a remarkable experience and an honourable opportunity being the Chairman of the Jury during the grand final of the Themis Competition. Every and each of the finalist teams had been well up to the subject and represented brilliantly their professional and also personal view concerning the tasks they had to solve. To put it bluntly, all the jurors had a rather difficult duty to evaluate the written and oral work of those young competing team members, the future magistrates. The whole event was perfectly organized, representatives of the European Judicial Trainig Network, as well as the colleagues of the National Institute of Magistracy really did a great job. Congratulations!"

The results!
After all of the hard work and deliberations, the results were announced. Team France 4 won the 2015 THEMIS Competition! Team Italy 1 came in as runner-up and Team Poland 2 won third place. The winning team won a study visit, which will be organised by the EJTN. All of the teams received a trophy.

Team France 4 - the winners!

Team Italy 1

Team Poland 2

Team Italy 3

France 2

Romania 1

Team France 3
Team Romania 2

Upon the delivery of the results, France's Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature acknowledged that they will be organising the next final of the THEMIS Competition in 2016.

The Polish team shared its impressions with EJTN:

Mr Jakub Petkiewicz – Team Poland 2
"We really enjoyed the very experience of participating in the Themis Finals, not just because of the third place we got. The organisation and hospitality of our Romanian hosts was flawless. It was also great to get to know more of our European counterparts (even though the Finals were much less varied in terms of nationality than the Semi-finals!). I found it particularly interesting to share everyday problems of our present and future work and training with our colleagues. It is indeed comforting that we have so much in common in this respect. The idea of maintaining such contacts through the Themis platform is a very valuable one! Last but not least, the composition of the jury made it a challenge and a pleasure to discuss with the jurors, both during the debate and afterwards."

After the Competition, a special ceremony took place in the auditorium of the National Institute of Magistracy (NIM) in order to celebrate 10th anniversary of the Themis Competition. All of the teams of the 2015 THEMIS Competition were invited, as were the members of the judging panel and the staff of NIM.

Ms. Octavia Spineanu-Matei thanked the participants and the members of the judging panel that were present. All had the pleasure of listening to Ms. Simina-Elena Tanasescu, Professor of the Law School of the University of Bucharest, Public Law Department and Counsellor of the President of Romania, who gave the following presentation on the Romanian judicial system:

Mr. Wojciech Postulski, Secretary General of the EJTN, retraced the history of the THEMIS Competition. See the photo below:

Mr. Luis Pereira and Ms. Lavinia Lefterache, the founders of the Themis Competition, honoured us with their presence and reminded all of the fundamentals of the THEMIS Competition.

L-R: Mr. Luis Pereira, Mrs Lavinia Lefterache, Ms. Octavia Spineanu-Matei, Mrs. Simina-Elena Tanasescu and Mr. Wojciech Postulski.

THEMIS Generations Platform
The winners of the THEMIS Competition in 2011 then presented all gathered the THEMIS Generations Platform, their idea being to create a social media-type platform that permits THEMIS alumni to stay in touch, discuss legal sucbjects and issues through a discussion forum and to have access to all materials of previous Competitions.

The various participants received a trophy from the Secretary General of the EJTN.

Cultural aspect
The THEMIS Competition also had a cultural aspect. The President of the Court of Cassation of Romania honoured us by giving us a presentation on the Romanian legal system.

Court of Cassation of Romania 

Each participant received a gift of law books on the functioning of the Romanian system.

A gala dinner was organised to celebrate THEMIS' 10th year anniversary. One of the Romanian judges, combining the two passions of his profession and singing, livened up the evening. A magnificent cake had been prepared for this occasion.

It was in a warm and friendly atmosphere that this week of the THEMIS Competition Grand Final came to a close.